Rosberg Demoted to Third for Listening to Driver-Aid FM

Nico Rosberg has been awarded a 10-second time penalty after the German was given advice on how to nurse his gearbox problem. The penalty promotes Max Verstappen to 2nd and means that now only one point separates the Mercedes Drivers in the standings.

The restriction on radio input between pit-wall and driver means that Nico Rosberg loses points because his engineer provided advice. The issue isn’t that the engineer told Rosberg how to alter settings to nurse the failing gearbox, but that the engineer advised Rosberg to short-shift seventh gear.

Does this regulation actually add anything to the spectacle? It seems tedious that in an attempt to make the pit-wall more ineffectual, we are left with a scenario in which a pit-wall error has cost a driver championship points.


The change in regulation hasn’t added anything. The speculation before the radio ban was that some drivers would manage better than others. The pecking order doesn’t seem to have changed too much since, and if it has, it can’t be because of this.

The only effect of the radio ban is to deny the audience and fans more insight into driver-engineer relationships. If fans were complaining about the quiet of the MGU-K power unit over the roar of V8, then the white-noise of the radio ban means we’re left with the sound of commentators deeply breathing over their shuffling notes. I’d rather hear the drivers trying to figure out races verbally with the pit-wall because it’s entertaining and doesn’t subtract from the race at all.

It was great to hear the relationship between Massa and Smedley, Hamilton and Clear, Vettel and Rocky etc because it added another dimension to the race. Hopefully, this decision by the FIA will prompt some sort of reconsideration over the rules. Better to hear the internal workings of an F1 team over the false claim that this regulation is somehow making the racing more competitive.





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